Dr Paul Richards, member of the King’s Lynn Conservancy Board responsible for the navigation and pilotage of the port, takes a look at port activity. Pictured is the Swe - Carrier entering Alexandra Dock from Bentinck Dock after discharging timber. At more than 98-metres long the vessel is one of the largest regular callers to the port.

Trade of the port in 2021 totalled almost 496,000 tonnes which showed a modest increase of about 9,000 tonnes over 2020. 

Cereals, timber and scrap metal accounted for the majority of this. Around 95 per cent of Britain’s imports and exports are seaborne.  Associated British Ports (ABP) handles a quarter of this trade through its 21 ports of which Lynn is one.

In December and January, 31 cargo ships arrived and 34 departed Lynn with 16 and 14 in ballast respectively.

Timber from Scandinavia and the Baltic is the staple import and vessels discharged seven loads of which five were part cargoes via Hull (three) and Seaham (two) on England’s east coast. Two full cargoes arrived on vessels from the Swedish ports of Varberg and Kristinenhamn.  From Kristinenhamn in January the Skagern had also carried some machinery which remained on board as part cargo when the vessel sailed from Lynn to Antwerp.

Randers is a river port on the east coast of Jutland (Denmark) from where ships regularly carry aggregate to Lynn for the construction industry.  Three vessels landed full cargoes over these two months.

The Delia and Celtic Spirit each transported high quality granite aggregate to The Wash from Glensanda which is on Loch Linnhe on the west coast of Scotland.

Occasional cargoes of maize are imported from La Pallice which is the deep water port of La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast. A consignment was brought by the Sormovskiy – 3068 which at 118 metres long is one of the largest vessels visiting Lynn. The Torpo sailed from Klaipeda in Lithuania to Lynn with a cargo of fertiliser for the farmlands of eastern England.

In 2021 our port was often the destination for ships importing wheat from Vierow on the German Baltic and the Eastern Virage discharged a cargo before departing to Scotland in ballast.

For some time Lynn’s staple export has been barley and there were another seven shipments over these two months.  The Eastern Vanquish made voyages to Drogheda near Dublin and Londonderry in Northern Ireland with full loads. The Rocket Racoon carried another cargo to Cork in the Irish Republic. Another three consignments of barley were transported to Eemshaven in the northern Netherlands.

Lynn ships were taking foodstuffs to Iceland before 1600 and in January 2022 the Wilson Drogheda sailed to Reykjavik with barley. In December the Zeus had carried a mixed cargo of wheat and barley to Iceland whose population is about 320,000. The Rig departed the port on December 7 with a cargo of wheat to Rotterdam which is Europe’s biggest harbour city.

The Eems Coast sailed to Buckie on Scotland’s north-east coast with malted barley three times during this period. The Troubadour carried a fourth such cargo for the Scottish distilleries.

Another regular run is ships taking beans to Norway for animal feed. The Eems Spring transported a cargo to Floro and the Sula departed Lynn for Norway via Hull where the vessel finished loading. The Sula had already carried a cargo of beans to Radicatel on the river Seine in northern France.

The scrap metal mountain on the Bentinck Dock was again diminished by three shipments to Amsterdam.

The King’s Lynn Conservancy Board depends on a small fleet of vessels to safeguard the navigation of ships to and from the port. Of key importance is the small but robust Ardenfast which undertakes several essential tasks, including hydrographic surveys in the approaches and the river. It has recently undergone extensive modifications and equipped with two modern efficient outboard engines.